Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Good News and Bad News

Published on July 18, 2017

The good news is that Trump is down to a record low in job approval for a President six months into his first term…36%. The bad news is that 36% is too high to get rid of him via impeachment in the House and removal in the Senate.

Trump is losing the smattering of democrats and a significant number of the independents who were with him in 2016. He is, however, retaining his base. That’s the core of Republican voters who like him because of the people and institutions Trump purports to hate and still campaigns against.

We’re talking Obama, Hillary and the mainstream media. Trump can’t let them go. Bashing them is his ticket to survival. It makes the base feel good. That’s the power of hate. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Do I have a whole lot of studies to cite in support of my theory on the power of hate in politics? Not really. But, I can draw your attention to a couple of savvy political operators and a sage from way back in American History.

The operators: Kevin Phillips and Ed Rendell. Phillips was one of the architects of Nixon’s southern strategy that helped Nixon win in 1968. He said that “the secret to politics is understanding who hates who.” Nixon played that truism in the south like a virtuoso violinist. Ed Rendell (no similarity to Tricky Dick) was a successful Governor of Pennsylvania, and former Chairman of the Democrat National Committee. Rendell observed “in politics hate is a far stronger motivator than love.”

So who’s my “sage from way back” to quote myself? Why Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), of course. I thought you’d never ask. The essayist, philosopher and author of “Walden”. You know, the guy who hung out at a cottage in the middle of Walden Pond near Concord, MA and thought big thoughts in the pursuit of right living.

Was Thoreau a hater? No, quite the contrary. But, amongst his many observations on the condition of the human race is one particular observation that couldn’t help but be music to the ears of any and all hucksters, con men and political opportunists past present and future. Thoreau observed that “the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.”

A natural born con man, opportunist would find hidden gold in that observation. You want to make a dollar or get a vote from those who spend their lives in “quiet desperation”? No problem. Find out what’s at the bottom of their feeling of powerlessness? Do the desperate feel exploited? If so, by whom? Or what?

Say, folks feel they’ve fallen behind the curve on technology and their level of education is not current with the marketplace. Solve their problem. Give them an instant education and make it expensive so they’ll think its good. Call it Trump University. Why not? If its all a con…so what? If Trump didn’t exploit the desperate schlumps someone else would. Free enterprise baby…love it or leave it!

Now, suppose its not money but votes is what you want. If the Republican Party is your preferred vehicle to power, it doesn’t take much research to know that the road to success within the party is to hate Obama more than any of your opponents. Trump out did them all. He embraced birtherism straight away. In Trump World, not only was Obama bad, he probably wasn’t even an American.

Trump even hired a team of investigators to go out to Hawaii and document the fact Obama wasn’t born in America. The base loved it! He announced publicly “you wouldn’t believe what they’re finding”.

You’re right big boy…we wouldn’t. Not only that, we don’t believe anything else you say.


In addition to his hate Obama, hate Hillary, and hate the media obsessions Trump has tried to sell the idea that he is “a leader who knows how to win.”


Let’s take a look at Trump’s role in his party’s oft repeated pledge to “repeal and replace Obamacare on day one.” Well, we’re getting close to day 180 and the best you can say about Trump’s efforts is that at the moment of truth Trump “choked like a dog”.

How so?

First, he never mastered command of the subject matter. He didn’t understand the bill he was supporting so he couldn’t have an intelligent and persuasive conversation with senators in his own party who were getting an earful from their constituents about specific provisions.

Second, for three days before the bill’s collapse, he was lounging around one of his golf clubs in New Jersey hanging out with assorted hangers on and sycophants watching a golf tournament. Seriously. An actual leader would have done his homework to know exactly where the weaknesses were amongst his supporters and gone to those states (Utah, Sen. Mike Lee and Kansas, Sen. Jerry Moran come to mind). Meet with them and, better yet, go with them to a meeting with constituents and answer the tough questions in an open forum. That’s what a leader would do.

Donald Trump cannot be believed and he has not led.

Quote of the Day:

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a Scoundrel” ~ Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

32 thoughts on “Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Good News and Bad News”

  1. I read your blog consistently and I am thinking that you want the best for your city and or community. I have no ax to grind, but I always wonder how “hate” got to be such an over used
    word when mostly its is a disagreement. I actually like some of the things our current president is doing (not saying) and I hope he continues to take us in a conservative direction. I (and I believe most people) however can disagree without hating each other. I disagreed with our last president and I disagree with this president but would vote for him over Hillary again but that doesn’t mean I hate people. I can’t understand the use of a word like hate to describe people most of us don’t even know. I wish you well, I just wish people would learn to disagree and not think everyone is a hater or hatee.

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      I agree that many, probably most, are not motivated by hate. But, if you watch Rachel Maddow of MSNBC on the left or Hannity of FOX on the right you will see a consistent pattern of assuming the worst about, and ridiculing, the other side.

      Its economics. It drives ratings. People tune in to get there preconceived positions confirmed.

      Probably the best bets for down the middle coverage are PBS or BBC.

  2. Holy Snowflaking Chronic Chirping Crickets;

    You talking hate coming from Trump and Trumpers is ridiculous as you chirping Snowflakes preach unimaginable hate every day against Trump through the MSM to the point of removing his bloodied head and assassinating him daily in an ongoing liberal hate play in New York City……

    Such hypocrites are you chirping ,melting Snowflakes this country has never seen before…..

    After Hillary sold 20% of the USA’s uranium to Russia and Putin then in pro quo then paying Slick Willy $500,000 per speech you hypocrites want to keep preaching Russian collusion ….and the Dems colluding with Ukraine government to remove Trump campaign managers… Ha

    You crickets are sick, sick ,sick and your stupid indefensible constant chirping will continue to reap more despair for your hypocritical set of Demo political ethics…..

    How about discussing better health care, how to stimulate the economy, proposing answers as to how to deal with NOKO, etc… and you say you are not a touter for the Dems? …. yet every commentary ,which are getting longer due to your failure to convince even the retarded, is about Trump, Trump, Trump…….

    Enough is enough….get a new chirp you OCD Cricket…. as you are the definition of insanity saying the same thing over and over and expecting different results…LMAOROTF

  3. Today I am annoyed at and disappointed in ALL of these politicians in DC regardless of the letter behind their name, who deliberately exploited the frustration and desperate circumstances of those trapped in Obama Care. I have one friend who has had to come out of retirement just to pay the premiums. I have no reason to disbelieve her.
    Others virtually have no insurance due to the high deductibles straining their income.
    What did these Republicans do? Ran on improving this for them, and have now walked away. But it happens in the local level too.
    At least all of these frustrated voters know who NOT to believe going forward.
    By the grace of God, I don’t have to deal with Obama Care, but I have been exploited by politicians so I can relate to the frustration these good people are feeling right now.

    1. With due respect to your friend, if they are over 65 they have medicare. If they are under 65 and retired without considering the cost of continuing health coverage they probably should have never retired to begin with.

      You deal with the Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare) right along with everyone else in the country. For all the partisanship and accompanying misinformation the problems with Health Care are pretty straight forward in who foots the bill for the catastrophically ill, for the chronically ill along with everyone else. The GOP under Ronald Reagan made it illegal for a hospital to deny health care to anyone – so before the ACA the poor, the uninsurable and those that exhausted lifetime insurance benefits were cared for in the emergency room.

      In today’s Clarion Ledger there is a story of a mentally ill man from East Mississippi that had a psychotic break. When he takes a low paying job doing construction he loses medicaid and can’t afford his $800 pharmacy bill for his meds. The ambulance ride to Jackson will cost the taxpayers over $1,000 and the guy was discharged, still delusional on the streets of Jackson without medication, a way home and still with the same problem as the hospital gave the man no meds. What a colossal waste of money and human capital!

      The mentally ill are among the pawns in the games being played in DC. Senator Wicker’s performance here has been both particularly partisan and completely out of touch with the needs of his constituents. If the people in Mississippi had any sense they’d bounce his ass out of the Senate next year.

      The ACA has two taxes on high income earners that have helped fund the program and it is these taxes the GOP wants badly to repeal. To pay for the tax cuts they would deny 20 million people access to health insurance.

      Every other industrialized country has some form of universal health care, most with a single payer system. It cuts out all the middle men such as insurance companies. Within that single payer system there are a multitude of variations. I personally favor those that insure that the Docs are well paid.

      The sad truth is Trump is the most crooked, dishonest President this Country has had in the last 80 years – even worse are those that ignored his track record of serial infidelity, poor treatment of women, scams such as Trump University and screwing over construction contractors on his real estate developments thinking he was some sort of Santa Claus.

      Worse yet are the Democratic leadership…..faithful Wall Street tools who are also completely out of touch with the needs of the citizens. That last poll where Trump did so badly on approval ratings, the worse news was the public’s view of Nancy Pelosi and her band of ossified crooks.

    2. Let me offer a couple of observations:

      1. Most people take for granted that if you’re going to drive a car you are required to have insurance that has certain minimum levels of coverage. The reasoning is that their fellow citizens are entitled to protection in the event of an accident.

      2. The ACA applies the same reasoning by requiring people to get insurance with certain minimum levels of coverage. The reasoning is that if a person with no resources and no health insurance gets seriously ill or insured (AIDS or paralyzing car accident) their medical expenses will be covered by their fellow citizens.

      3. The opponents of the ACA say that “the government shouldn’t tell my family what kind of insurance we should have.” Maybe not…but the government should require everybody to have a certain level of health insurance SO THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS are not required to support them when they get sick beyond the scope of their bare bones coverage.

      4. The theory of the ACA is that, as Americans, we’re all in this together. Its everybody’s responsibility to maintain a certain level of health insurance so when they get sick they don’t become the responsibility of their fellow citizens.

      5. The philosophy of the ACA is that everybody should be required to take a minimum level of responsibility for themselves so that their fellow citizens are not required to pay for their irresponsibility.

      1. But if the ACA is affecting all of us like Doug pointed out, then aren’t their fellow citizens being affected by it which blows that philosophy.
        To compare it to car insurance is a bit of a stretch. No one is ” required” to own a car.
        I am all for assisting my fellow citizens who are in need. Been doing it for years on a regular, voluntary basis.
        But this system needs tweeking and that us a fact.

        1. I’m in total agreement that the system needs tweeking…maybe a lot more.

          Maybe the car insurance comparison is a stretch. Let’s say the act of driving has risk of accidents and the act of living entails risk of injury and illness. Those that do not insure themselves against risk (and are not immensely wealthy) are asking their fellow citizens to step in and pay for their failure to do so.

          1. Tom this was in this morning’s Wall Street Journal [no paywall] – could be a case of great minds thinking alike:

            Emily Ekins, a Cato Institute scholar who is part of a politically diverse team of academics and pollsters in the process of analyzing the 2016 election, told me on Monday that Trump supporters are less concerned about his policy agenda and more interested in having someone who understands them occupy the Oval Office. The president’s relentless rhetoric about the “costs” of illegal immigration and free trade, his attacks on outsourcing, and this week’s White House “Made in America” stunt are all of a piece.

            “I think there’s a lot of evidence to support the idea that Trump’s main appeal was validating the fears and concerns of a certain segment of Americans who felt they were being ignored by elites in the media, elites in politics, elite Republicans,” said Ms. Ekins. “My reading of the data is that he’s not on a timer or a clock. And it’s not clear to me that his supporters are waiting for him to achieve X, Y and Z policy goals. That’s an example of the press imposing their expectations on voters.”

            Good to see your analysis holds up well against the “pros”.

            1. Just read the WSJ piece. They were able to analyze the motivations of the Trump base without using the word “hate”. Good for the WSJ.

              I admit, they have better manners than me!


          2. Tom,
            In this crazy world we now live in, even the safety of the Mother’s is gone.
            I know I’m dating myself and my values are practically extinct, but they still suit me.

              1. I think you’re hinting at excessive materialism in today’s world at the expense of values rooted in the Spiritual.

                That’s an enormous topic. Steve Bannon has hinted at this a bit. His father worked for one company for forty plus years and at the end of his career was shafted by some Wall Street wheeler dealers who were never held accountable. That experience
                is at the root of Bannon’s populist streak.

                That, and the fact that I think he has been wrongly accused of anti-semitism and other prejudices, are among the reasons I’ve defended him on my site a couple of times.

                There’s a great quote from Churchill about Americans that I think applies to the entire human race:

                “You can always depend on the Americans to do the right thing, but only after
                exhausting all other alternatives.”

                Keep in touch.

  4. Having said all that, Doug, and I don’t doubt you, here’s the question–
    Who do we turn to?
    My grandchildren’s cockatiel has it figured out. He can say
    “Term Limits!”

  5. Churchill had another great quote, ” you’ve made some enemies? You must have stood up for something.”

  6. I am so disgusted with this whole situation. The country has elected a president and the people should understand and accept that. The continuous bashing of Trump has really been extended a little too far. You can’t turn on a late night show without the first couple of minutes of the monologue bashing Trump. He’s president, get over it. Everywhere you turn he is being criticized. Give it up and move on. When Obama was elected I didn’t support him, but didn’t talk trash about him everyday.
    If Trump gets no support from his own political party that is sad. He is being purposely defeated by his own party and we have to suffer for it. Maybe if more people worked together and quit concentrating on the negative we might be able to move forward.
    The Senate under Obama voted to repeal Obamacare, today these same Senators won’t. What is wrong with this country?? The Congress and Senate. We need Term Limits…..I voted for Trump, who wanted Hillery? She has so much criminal baggage and her platform to keep giving away our tax paid dollars to the ones that feel they are entitled. They want their college loans forgiven. I paid for my college no one helped me. Give up other priorities until your financial obligations are paid. It is the mentality of entitlement. I am so sick of it. Our system has gotten out of control with free programs. All should be drug tested before receiving any government financial benefits. I see people on disability, yet they are working other jobs getting paid in cash. If they can work, then they should not be on our tax burden.
    As for the economy, I see more money being spent since Trump was elected, all businesses I talk to say things have definitely picked up.

    1. Get behind the leader of the Birther movement? Spoken like a true blue 36 percenter Outraged.

      I would continue to look for Trump to be treated exactly as he treats others as the more realistic expectation here.

      1. I’m not behind the Birther movement, however, I truly believe Obama is a “muslim” and our last 8 years can indicate that. His name should say something “Barack Hussein Obama”. Terrorism has increased in the USA and more and more mulims arriving in the USA. Look how our Country has become? He sends 400 million$ to an Arab country? I don’t care what excuses he used.
        Our racial tensions are higher than ever. Obama invites the murderer to the White House and not the Victim’s family because victim is white and murderer is Black. Get a grip on reality. There is crime all over the country and Obama never stepped up and supported the Victims because they were white. He never said this has to stop no matter white or black. What message does that send to the people of the USA? If you are black and commit a crime you went to the White House. If you are white and the victim, too bad. I’m not a racist, just stating the facts of what I see and hear and read.

        1. Concerning criticism of Trump, you say “give it up and move on.” You don’t seem willing to follow your own advice concerning Obama.

  7. Trump does ask for what he gets sometimes but being a rich white guy makes him table fair. Obama went into office as a poor black guy and came out a rich black guy. But if anyone takes fodder on him they are a racist. I say fair and equal bashing.

    1. I don’t think Obama was poor going in. He had written two best selling books and been a law professor at the University of Chicago, a state senator and a US Senator.

      By Trump, Clinton or Bush standards, Obama is well off now but not super rich. When his book comes out (and Michele’s) they’ll be better off.

      Good for them.

      1. public/state jobs do not get you rich. Again from the State and Federal Level this is an issue. He was a Public Salary earner and raising a family. Best selling books are a dime a doz. I buy them all the time for a few bucks. He went in with a net worth of maybe a $1,000,000+- came out north of $10,000,000+-. But the same point, he was protected by his corner calling anyone who questioned him a racist. Dems used every phobe they could muster. Come on fair and equal bashing. White middle class is under attack for having a view that is theirs for their own reasons and perceptions and being scorned for it. We all have an idea of what the constitution means but being conservative is a phobia against everyone and thing. Kennedy put a man in Space Obama put one in a man’s rest room.

        1. Duped,
          I think you meant to say Obama put a man in the women’s restrooms!!
          Every President has their agenda!!
          Why is no one in the media commenting on Obama’s participation in the Israeli
          Election last year at our expense? They all do it. The news media treat it as a crime if the right does it and a sacrament if the left does it!!
          It’s all such a mess. I have been looking at old episodes of Laugh In and, of course, Iron Chef on Food Network.

        2. You seem obsessed with race. I’ve been posting my views since 2012 and, if memory serves,
          the only time I mentioned race was to defend Steve Bannon from accusations of racism.

          In terms of how much he made from selling books, the number is 18 Million Dollars.

          You did say one thing I agree with, Obama was black when he went into the White House and he was still black when he came out.

  8. Illegal immigration is down. Welfare and food stamp payouts are down. Illegals being swept off the street is up. Jobs coming in by the thousands but everyone wants to focus on his demeanor. People are putting rhetoric ahead of results. Fair and balanced bashing is ok.

  9. So to my point! We cannot talk race without the conservative view being opined “Racist”! There is a talking point problem with the whole mess.

  10. Anybody besides me think that Trump’s dealing with Jeff Sessions is classless and cowardly?

    The two of them have each other in a death grip. Trump is afraid to fire him and Sessions won’t quit.

      1. When Obama relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal of his command he met with him in the Oval
        Office, heard him out in a thirty minute meeting and notified the General, face to face, of the decision.

        Trump fired Comey by sending a messenger to Comey’s office while Comey was out of town. Now, the long distance taunting of Jeff Sessions.

        That’s who we’ve got.

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